The wine trade is all about celebrating excellent winemakers but what about strong influential female winemakers? Sybille Kuntz is just that. She is one of the many excellent winemakers/vineyard owners in the world, leading the charge in a predominantly male industry. In Germany however, she is still one of the very few female winemakers in the Mosel. Because of this, Sybille had to stick to her guns and forge her own path when she took over her father’s vineyard in the late 1980s. She had to be bold and more ambitious than all of her competitors. She has always been very much ‘hands on’ and very good vineyard management has been the key to her success. Modern vine training was implemented and canopy management was integral in extracting as much flavour from her grapes.
One of the first things she did was to start producing dry Rieslings, when the market was greedy for sweet wines and in 1990, she started using practising organic viticulture. In 2011, Sybille applied for certification. She then went on to use biodynamic methods (eventually receiving certification in 2016) and continued to make her interpretation of the best dry Mosel wines. Judging by Sybille’s accompishments now, we would say that her wines are not only modern, fresh and clean but we should also acknowledge the simple label designs on the bottles. This was a marked leap away from the stuffy Riesling labels that can quite rightly, sometimes bamboozle buyers, trying to negotiate the German quality control wine classification.
As soon as Sybille’s wine were brought to our attention, we could not get enough of them. It would be fair to say that we had not been as excited about German wines until we tried them. The marketing and quality of the wines are outstanding.
For those who are not familiar with the ‘dry’ levels of Riesling, here is a quick breakdown –
Qualitätswein means a wine of superior quality. Kuntz’s quality wine is a blend of her single vineyard sites in Kues, Kardinalsberg and Weisenstein. This Riesling Qualitätswein is picked at the beginning of harvest and is a fantastic entry level wine. It is crisp, fresh and a great balance of acidity.
Kabinett is mainly from old vines from the steep vineyards in the Paul valley, a side valley formed by the River Mosel some thirty-five thousand years ago. Today it is part of the single vineyard site Lieser Schlossberg. In earlier centuries a ‘Kabinett’ was a very good Riesling stored in a separate ‘cabinet’ of the wine cellar or room. It is basically the German equivalent to a Reserve wine because it is of superior quality.
Spätlese is also vinified dry and, as the German designation indicates, is picked late at harvest. Only the best grapes with the longest ripening period on the vine will be selected for the Spätlese from Niederberg-Helden. Due to a later harvest Spatlese is richer and fuller bodied with a residual sweetness.
For more information/tasting notes/prices on these wines, please contact our office – 01875 595 100 or drop us a line – firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Carignan Revival
Carignan is a varietal which originates near Catalonia and the Spanish have a good track record of making excellent wines in Aragon, Priorat and Monstant, to name a few. The variety eventually made its’ way over the border in Languedoc Roussillon where the French Catalans decided to give this difficult grape a go. In February’s edition of Decanter, Miquel Hudin gives a great insight into why Carignan is now thriving in the South of France.
Miquel Hudin also mentions the Carignan from Domaine Sainte Croix in the Hautes Corbieres as one of his top picks:
From the Hautes Corbieres area in Languedoc. Dark cherry and prune fruit, crunchy limestone notes, wild forest herbs, touch of mushroom, orange peel and generally fleshed out very well. Fresh fruit on the palate develops with a touch of sweetness, crisp acidity and a lingering finish. DRINK 2020-2025 ALC 14.5%
Please contact the office on 01875 595 100 or e-mail email@example.com to find out prices and more info on Domaine Sainte Croix.